Top twin Cities food minds pick their “go-to” cookbooks and reference guides from the crowded bookshelf.
“Whoever designed the streets (in St. Paul) must have been drunk. I think it was those Irish guys, you know what they like to do.”
—Jesse Ventura on Late Night with David Letterman
As a resident of Saint Paul, I take offense to any criticism that smears the hard work of our city founders and builders. It doesn’t matter what their ethnic or religious background is, the people who designed the Capitol City were pretty shrewd. With that said, there is one thing they could have done differently; they could have designed our kitchens counters in our older neighborhoods to be just a tad bit bigger.
Recently my wife decided to reclaim a portion of her prep area, but this came at the expense of my cookbook collection. I was told that I could only keep three books on the counter, and the remainder would be relegated to closets and bookshelves.
A conversation with a Star Tribune stalwart.
Not too long ago, I stopped in at Chris and Rob’s for lunch. Within minutes of ordering, one of the kitchen workers brought a Chicago dog to my table. As he set it down, the guy cocked his head at an angle while aiming an inquisitive eye at me. “You’re the guy who tells stories for that newspaper thing that gets sent here each month, huh?”
I smiled and nodded yes while he continued, “You should do interviews sometimes, and if you do, you should interview me. I have all kinds of valuable info.”
As I dug into my cheese fries, it occurred to me, I guess I really haven’t done any interviews. So while I walked out to my bread truck, I decided that if I were going to do an interview, it should probably be with somebody who has a lot to say. Somebody whose point of view wasn’t just relevant, but also interesting.
An instance of small-scale pilferage could have potentially lead to large-scale theft. Thus, a big decision was made.
Over my years of laboring within restaurants and bakeries, I’ve always viewed the crews that I’ve worked with as extended families. Truth be told, there has been more than one occasion when the employees I’ve shared a workspace with have developed a more functional relationship with me than the people I’ve shared a house with.
I count myself fortunate that during the last decade I’ve never really had to work with anyone I truly despised, and for the most part, my business relationships were pretty much taken for granted and communications were on cruise control. Then, about a year ago, something put a fly in the ointment.
One of my bakery’s ingredient purchasers brought it to my attention that a large amount of cleaning supplies seemed to be missing from our warehouse. I was absolutely shocked.
Dear Hospitality Industry,
Welcome to my annual tribute, where I list some of the bakers that I am convinced are going to have a banner year in 2013. In some ways, you can’t help but feel a little pretentious when you evaluate a state’s entire industry.
But, truth be told, nothing excites me more than providing opportunity and platforms for decent, hard working people.
The following entries are just my opinion, but I am more than honored to present them.
Like many of you, every once in a while I’ve been lucky enough to hop onto a metal bird that escorts me across the country to some sort of culinary conference. Sometimes these events are OK, and other times they’ve been less than stellar.
However, I was fortunate to get an invite to the Windy City to sit in on a bakers’ “Think Tank” that was superb.
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